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Food Chains 3

This worksheet challenges the student to stretch their understanding of food chains. The terms PRODUCER, CONSUMER, PREDATOR and so on are expected to be understood and the worksheet explores the effects of ecological changes on the structure of food chains as well as food webs.

Key stage:  KS 2

Curriculum topic:  Animals, including Humans

Curriculum subtopic:  Food Chains

Difficulty level:  

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QUESTION 1 of 10

Food chains show how food energy flows through an ecosystem. The arrows in a food chain show the direction of energy, for example:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LEAF   GREENFLY   LADYBIRD   ROBIN   HAWK

 

...shows that the energy PRODUCED by the leaves (using sunlight, water and air) is transferred to the CONSUMERS as they eat each other. The TOP PREDATOR is the hawk.

In the following questions think about where organisms feed within the food chain and what would happen to the chain if they were taken out, say by disease.

Here is a marine food chain:

 

 

 

 

 

ALGEA   PLANKTON   BLUE WHALE

 

In this food chain which is the producer?

Blue Whale

Algae

Plankton

Why must food chains always start with a plant?

Everything eats plants

Plants grow in every habitat

Only plants can make the energy for the food chain

 

 

 

 

ALGEA   PLANKTON   BLUE WHALE

 

Apart from blue whales pick one other marine consumer that is likely to eat plankton.

Sardines

Killer Whale

Cod

In all habitats, such as a wood, food chains link together into food webs:

 

LEAF   CATERPILLAR   BLUETIT   SPARROWHAWK
         
    <    
    SPIDER   ROBIN    

 

Name the SECOND CONSUMERS from this food web.

Blue tit

Spider

Robin

Sparrowhawk

LEAF   CATERPILLAR   BLUETIT   SPARROWHAWK
         
    <    
    SPIDER   ROBIN    

 

In this food web name the TOP PREDATOR.

Sparrowhawk

Robin

Blue Tit

LEAF   CATERPILLAR   BLUETIT   SPARROWHAWK
         
    <    
    SPIDER   ROBIN    

 

Imagine that a nearby farmer sprayed insecticide (insect-killing poison) on a field next to the wood. If some of the insecticide blew into the wood, which animals might be killed by it?

spider

blue tit

sparrowhawk

caterpillar

LEAF   CATERPILLAR   BLUETIT   SPARROWHAWK
         
    <    
    SPIDER   ROBIN    

 

If the animals you chose, together with the other insects in the wood, all died as a result of the spraying, what might be the effect on the insect-eaters, like blue tits, in the wood?

they would all die of starvation

those who could migrate to feed elsewhere would leave the wood

they would turn cannibal and eat each other

Here is a food chain from the western USA:

 

 

 

 

 

LEAF   MULE-EARED DEER   COUGAR

 

In 1910, in one area of this habitat, hunters shot all the big predators like cougar, wolves, coyotes and the like. How do you think the population of mule-eared deer was affected?

The population of deer increased

The population of deer decreased

The population of deer stayed stayed the same

 

 

 

 

LEAF   MULE-EARED DEER   COUGAR

 

How do you think that the change you chose in Q8 might have affected the plants that the deer feed on?

There would be increased growth of the plants

The plants wouldn't be affected much

There would be many fewer plants to eat

 

 

 

 

LEAF   MULE-EARED DEER   COUGAR

 

Within ten years the population of deer had fallen to less than the number that had existed before all the predators were killed. What do you think is the most likely reason for this?

more predators had migrated in from surrounding areas

the deer had eaten almost all the vegetation so there was no food left

a virus epidemic had killed most of the deer

Finally a food chain puzzle for you to solve!

 

 

 

 

CORN   CHICKEN   FOX

 

You have to transport a sack of corn, a chicken and a fox across a river. Your boat can only carry one of them at a time. If you leave the corn and the chicken together the chicken will eat the corn. You cannot leave the fox and the chicken together either! What is the MINIMUM (fewest) number of crossings (both ways) you will need to make in the boat to transport all three safely across the river?

3

4

5

6

7

9

  • Question 1

Here is a marine food chain:

 

 

 

 

 

ALGEA   PLANKTON   BLUE WHALE

 

In this food chain which is the producer?

CORRECT ANSWER
Algae
EDDIE SAYS
The producer produces all the food for the chain. Only plants can do this (using sunlight and simple chemicals), so the algae is the producer.
  • Question 2

Why must food chains always start with a plant?

CORRECT ANSWER
Only plants can make the energy for the food chain
EDDIE SAYS
Plants use sunlight, water and air (in a process called PHOTOSYNTHESIS) to actually manufacture food (sugar and starch) which they use to grow and store away. Animals (CONSUMERS) feed on this energy and pass it along the chain. No plants = no food chain!
  • Question 3

 

 

 

 

ALGEA   PLANKTON   BLUE WHALE

 

Apart from blue whales pick one other marine consumer that is likely to eat plankton.

CORRECT ANSWER
Sardines
EDDIE SAYS
In fact sardines (yes, the ones that fit in cans!) eat plankton. Killer whales target larger prey like seals while cod eat other fish and squid.
  • Question 4

In all habitats, such as a wood, food chains link together into food webs:

 

LEAF   CATERPILLAR   BLUETIT   SPARROWHAWK
         
    <    
    SPIDER   ROBIN    

 

Name the SECOND CONSUMERS from this food web.

CORRECT ANSWER
Blue tit
Spider
EDDIE SAYS
Second consumers feed on first consumers. The FIRST CONSUMER is always a plant-eater (HERBIVORE) - in this case the caterpillar - so you can see that both blue tits and spiders feed on the caterpillar and so are SECOND CONSUMERS.
  • Question 5
LEAF   CATERPILLAR   BLUETIT   SPARROWHAWK
         
    <    
    SPIDER   ROBIN    

 

In this food web name the TOP PREDATOR.

CORRECT ANSWER
Sparrowhawk
EDDIE SAYS
Nothing feeds on the sparrowhawk so it is the top predator.
  • Question 6
LEAF   CATERPILLAR   BLUETIT   SPARROWHAWK
         
    <    
    SPIDER   ROBIN    

 

Imagine that a nearby farmer sprayed insecticide (insect-killing poison) on a field next to the wood. If some of the insecticide blew into the wood, which animals might be killed by it?

CORRECT ANSWER
spider
caterpillar
EDDIE SAYS
The caterpillar is an insect and will be killed. Although the spider is an arachnid, it is a close relative of the insects and is likely to be killed by the insecticide. The other animals will not be directly killed but will be affected by the death of their prey.
  • Question 7
LEAF   CATERPILLAR   BLUETIT   SPARROWHAWK
         
    <    
    SPIDER   ROBIN    

 

If the animals you chose, together with the other insects in the wood, all died as a result of the spraying, what might be the effect on the insect-eaters, like blue tits, in the wood?

CORRECT ANSWER
those who could migrate to feed elsewhere would leave the wood
EDDIE SAYS
Some would die of starvation but the majority would leave the wood, e.g. the birds can fly away, lizards and mammals and the like can move elsewhere, and so the habitat would change drastically.
  • Question 8

Here is a food chain from the western USA:

 

 

 

 

 

LEAF   MULE-EARED DEER   COUGAR

 

In 1910, in one area of this habitat, hunters shot all the big predators like cougar, wolves, coyotes and the like. How do you think the population of mule-eared deer was affected?

CORRECT ANSWER
The population of deer increased
EDDIE SAYS
With no big predators to feed on them the mule-eared deer population expanded rapidly. Soon it was five times greater than it had been before all the predators were shot.
  • Question 9

 

 

 

 

LEAF   MULE-EARED DEER   COUGAR

 

How do you think that the change you chose in Q8 might have affected the plants that the deer feed on?

CORRECT ANSWER
There would be many fewer plants to eat
EDDIE SAYS
As the population of deer continued to increase they stripped all the vegetation in the region so that there was barely any grass, bushes or leaves on trees (that they could reach).
  • Question 10

 

 

 

 

LEAF   MULE-EARED DEER   COUGAR

 

Within ten years the population of deer had fallen to less than the number that had existed before all the predators were killed. What do you think is the most likely reason for this?

CORRECT ANSWER
the deer had eaten almost all the vegetation so there was no food left
EDDIE SAYS
Whilst a virus could have killed the deer, it was the lack of food that reduced their numbers so drastically. With a massive population they had stripped all the grass, leaves and so on and there was almost nothing left to feed on.
  • Question 11

Finally a food chain puzzle for you to solve!

 

 

 

 

CORN   CHICKEN   FOX

 

You have to transport a sack of corn, a chicken and a fox across a river. Your boat can only carry one of them at a time. If you leave the corn and the chicken together the chicken will eat the corn. You cannot leave the fox and the chicken together either! What is the MINIMUM (fewest) number of crossings (both ways) you will need to make in the boat to transport all three safely across the river?

CORRECT ANSWER
7
EDDIE SAYS
The fewest is seven:
1. Carry chicken
2. Return empty
3. Carry corn
4. Take chicken back
5. Carry fox
6. Return empty
7. Carry chicken
Phew!
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